The Deanes are part of The Challenger Multi Academy Trust (CMAT).  Visit the CMAT website here.

The Challenger Trust (CT) was established in 1998 and has been working in some of the most socio- economically deprived areas of the UK for 14 years. Over 100 schools and 40,000 young people have benefited from our work with the trust. We run accredited outdoor educational programs to help young people to raise their aspirations, develop the skills required to be life-long learners and improve their educational and employment opportunities. We have participated in national debate in the end of outdoor education, and contributed £1M toward activity for deprived children in 12 years. Through our existing partnerships we have links with worldwide business organisations, local authorities, academies and all types of schools who commission our courses.

The Department for Education approved the Challenger Multi-Academy Trust (CMAT) as a sponsor for 2014. We are a small trust with minimal central overheads, with improvement models designed
to maximise funding direct to schools, but with sophisticated knowledge of the education sector over many years and access to a wide range of educational professionals in the primary, secondary and special schools sectors in order to support and develop the ‘Challenger’ model in our academies. 

Our mission is to create a federation of outstanding schools where every young person has the opportunity to participate in engaging and active learning experiences and achieve excellent educational outcomes in an inclusive and high performing school system. An education which prepares all children and young people to enter the university or employment of their choice and succeed in life through developing leadership, service and high aspirations due to the content of their character.

CMAT believe that learning outside the classroom is just as important as learning within the school itself. Through participation in a wide range of co-curricular activities, events and educational visits, our young people will develop the social and life skills that will stand them in good stead throughout their adult life. Furthermore, success in our Challenger Diploma builds confidence, determination and self-esteem, giving our students the skills that are needed for academic success.

All Challenger schools are aiming to achieve excellence. At CMAT we believe in the concept of ‘collaborative autonomy’ – schools working together with common aims under a common banner in which they all believe but retaining their sense of autonomy, uniqueness and individual character. We know and research confirms that sustainable school improvement comes from support and challenge from other schools and other partners.

Ensuring excellence for children comes through a mixture of support on a personal scale, great classroom teaching, a sense of success and aspiration within the school, and the ability to shape a personal programe that suits all abilities and talents. The ‘Challenger Model’ ensures schools have strong networks and a strong voice in their future. We will help you build strong capacity to improve from within and a culture that looks outward and never stops aiming to achieve excellence. Collaboration within a range of networks, and autonomy at a local level, are at the heart of what we offer so that individual schools and the family of schools grow through working closely with us and each other. 

The arrangements for governance within Challenger Multi Academy Trust are set out in this scheme of delegation. The Trust is a company limited by guarantee and an exempt charity. The functions of the Trust are discharged by its various boards, committees and key posts. In summary these are:

1. Members
As charitable companies limited by guarantee every trust has members who have a similar role to the shareholders of a company limited by shares. They:

  • are the subscribers to the Trust’s memorandum of association (where they are founding members)
  • may amend the articles of association (the articles include a definition of the Trust’s charitable objects and governance structure) subject to any restrictions in thearticles or in the trust’s funding agreement or charity law
  • have powers to appoint and remove trustees in certain circumstances
  • appoint the trust’s auditors and receive the trust’s audited annual accounts(subject to the Companies Act).

As responsibility to conduct the business of the trust in accordance with company and charity law, sits with the Trustees, members are ‘eyes on and hands off’ and avoid compromising the Board’s discretion in exercising its responsibilities. However if the governance of the Trust by the Board of Trustees becomes dysfunctional the Members will have a strong interest in ensuring the Board has sufficient plans to address the issues.

The current Members are: 

  • Challenger Trust
  • Martin Smout
  • Charlie Rigby
  • Jeremy Parrish
  • Katherine Gardiner.  
2. Trustees

The Board of Trustees manages the business of the academy trust and should focus strongly on the three core functions of governance:

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

The Trustees must ensure compliance with the Trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law, and adherence to the Trust’s funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education. 

The Trustees are also company directors for CMAT. 

The Board can delegate tasks to committees and individuals but is always accountable for these tasks.

The Trustees are:

  • Martin Smout (Chair)
  • Charlie Rigby
  • Peter Knell
  • Stephen Chamberlain (Chief Executive Officer)
  • Andrew Johnston
  • Sally Dicketts
3. The Board of Trustees

The CMAT Trustees, acting as a board, are permitted to exercise all the powers of the academy trust. The trustees delegate certain governance functions and details of these delegations are set out below. 

The Trust must review its delegations at least annually and can have different delegations for each academy within the Trust depending on its circumstances.  

The terms of reference for the Board can be accessed here

 4. CMAT Committees 
The Board has established two committees to support and inform the overall work of the Board. The two committees are: 

  • Standards
  • Finance, Risk and Audit

 5. Local Governing Boards
Each academy has an element of local governance and a Local Governing Board (LGB).  Click here for further information on the LGB.

6. Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
The CEO has overall responsibility for all operational matters with CMAT and delivering its strategic objectives as he agreed by the Board. The CEO is directly accountable to the Board and is also the Accounting Officer for the Trust. 

Headteachers, as the lead professional in each academy, are responsible for the day to day management of their academy. They report to and are held to account by the LGB for the academy.

Governance Structure: Challenger Multi Academy Trust


Declaration of Interests and Attendance  

The declared interests and attendance of CMAT Members and Trustees can be found here.  The declared interests and attendance of the LGB members are detailed on the LGB page.